PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (650182)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Effects and safety of periconceptional folate supplementation for preventing birth defects 
Background
It has been reported that neural tube defects can be prevented with periconceptional folic acid supplementation. The effects of different doses, forms and schemes of folate supplementation for the prevention of other birth defects and maternal and infant outcomes are unclear.
Objectives
This review updates and expands a previous Cochrane Review assessing the effects of periconceptional supplementation with folic acid to reduce neural tube defects (NTDs). We examined whether folate supplementation before and during early pregnancy can reduce neural tube and other birth defects (including cleft palate) without causing adverse outcomes for mothers or babies.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (July 2010). Additionally, we searched the international clinical trials registry platform and contacted relevant organisations to identify ongoing and unpublished studies.
Selection criteria
We included all randomised or quasi-randomised trials evaluating the effect of periconceptional folate supplementation alone, or in combination with other vitamins and minerals, in women independent of age and parity.
Data collection and analysis
We assessed trials for methodological quality using the standard Cochrane criteria. Two authors independently assessed the trials for inclusion, one author extracted data and a second checked for accuracy.
Main results
Five trials involving 6105 women (1949 with a history of a pregnancy affected by a NTD and 4156 with no history of NTDs) were included. Overall, the results are consistent in showing a protective effect of daily folic acid supplementation (alone or in combination with other vitamins and minerals) in preventing NTDs compared with no interventions/placebo or vitamins and minerals without folic acid (risk ratio (RR) 0.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.15 to 0.52). Only one study assessed the incidence of NTDs and the effect was not statistically significant (RR 0.08, 95% CI 0.00 to 1.33) although no events were found in the group that received folic acid. Folic acid had a significant protective effect for reoccurrence (RR 0.32, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.60). There is no statistically significant evidence of any effects on prevention of cleft palate, cleft lip, congenital cardiovascular defects, miscarriages or any other birth defects. There were no included trials assessing the effects of this intervention on maternal blood folate or anaemia at term.
We found no evidence of short-term side effects.
Authors’ conclusions
Folic acid, alone or in combination with vitamins and minerals, prevents NTDs but does not have a clear effect on other birth defects.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007950.pub2
PMCID: PMC4160020  PMID: 20927767
Dietary Supplements; Folic Acid [* administration & dosage]; Neural Tube Defects [* prevention & control]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Vitamin B Complex [* administration & dosage]; Female; Humans; Infant; Pregnancy
2.  East Ireland 1980-1994: epidemiology of neural tube defects 
STUDY OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to describe the epidemiology of neural tube defects (NTD) in the eastern region of Ireland using the EUROCAT register of congenital malformations. DESIGN, SETTING AND PATIENTS: EUROCAT registries monitor the prevalence of congenital anomalies in defined populations using multiple sources for case ascertainment. All cases of NTD on the Dublin EUROCAT register born between 1980 and 1994 were extracted and analysed. The crude birth prevalence rate for all NTD, spina bifida, anencephaly and encephalocoele were calculated for each year. Parameters measured were: sex ratio, stillbirth rate, proportion of low birth-weight babies (< 2500 g) and the proportion who were premature (< 37 weeks gestation). MAIN RESULTS: Of 821 NTD cases, 419 (51.0%) had spina bifida, 322 (39.2%) had anencephaly, 69 (8.4%) had encephalocoele and 11 (1.3%) were iniencephalic. The crude birth prevalence of NTD decreased fourfold from 46.9/10,000 births in 1980 to 11.6/10,000 in 1994. The downward trend ceased during the early 1990's. Younger mothers had significantly higher rates of NTD affected births. Twenty two per cent of NTD cases had additional non-central nervous system anomalies. In 40 cases, there was a previous family history of NTD in siblings. Seasonal effects in birth prevalence were observed. Birth notification was the most frequent mechanism of ascertainment. CONCLUSION: There was a marked fall in the birth prevalence of NTD during the 15 year period. This change was real and not accounted for by pre-natal screening and diagnostic practises with termination of pregnancy, which is not legally permissible in Ireland. Dietary factors may have had an influence. Rates of NTD in this region are still higher than many other parts of Europe. Primary prevention strategies through increased folic acid intake are necessary to further reduce NTD affected births.
 
PMCID: PMC1756811  PMID: 10656087
3.  The maternal folate hydrolase gene polymorphism is associated with neural tube defects in a high-risk Chinese population 
Genes & Nutrition  2012;8(2):191-197.
Folate hydrolase 1 (FOLH1) gene encodes intestinal folate hydrolase, which regulates intestinal absorption of dietary folate. Previous studies on the association between polymorphisms rs202676 and rs61886492 and the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) were inconclusive. A case–control study of women with NTD-affected pregnancies (n = 160) and controls (n = 320) was conducted in the Chinese population of Lvliang, a high-risk area for NTDs. We genotyped the polymorphic sites rs202676 and rs61886492 and assessed maternal plasma folate and total homocysteine (tHcy). Our results showed that in case group, plasma folate concentrations were 18 % lower compared with those of control group (8.32 vs. 6.79 nmol/L, p = 0.033) and tHcy concentrations were 17 % higher (10.47 vs. 12.65 μmol/L, p = 0.047). Almost all samples had the rs61886492 GG genotype (99.78 %). The result showed that the frequency of GG genotype in rs202676 was significantly higher in group with multiple NTDs than in controls (p = 0.030, OR = 2.157, 95 % CI, 1.06–4.38). The multiple-NTD group showed higher maternal plasma concentrations of tHcy (10.47 vs. 13.96 μmol/L, p = 0.024). The GG genotype of rs202676 had a lower maternal folate and higher tHcy concentrations than other genotypes with no significant differences. The result of structural prediction indicated that this variation might change the spatial structure of the protein. These results suggested that the maternal polymorphism rs202676 was a potential risk factor for multiple NTDs in this Chinese population. The allele G might affect maternal plasma folate and tHcy concentration.
doi:10.1007/s12263-012-0309-3
PMCID: PMC3575888  PMID: 22918695
Association study; Chinese population; FOLH1; Neural tube defects; Single-nucleotide polymorphism
4.  IS LOW IRON STATUS A RISK FACTOR FOR NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS? 
Background
Folic acid supplements can protect against neural tube defects (NTDs). Low folate and low vitamin B12 status may be maternal risk factors for having an NTD affected pregnancy. However, not all NTDs are preventable by having an adequate folate/ B12 status and other potentially modifiable factors may be involved. Folate and vitamin B12 status have important links to iron metabolism. Animal studies support an association between poor iron status and NTDs but human data are scarce. We examined the relevance of low iron status in a nested NTD case-control study of women within a pregnant population-based cohort.
Methods
Pregnant women were recruited between 1986 and 1990, when vitamin or iron supplementation in early pregnancy was rare. Blood samples, taken at an average of 14 weeks gestation, were used to measure ferritin and hemoglobin in 64 women during an NTD affected pregnancy and 207 women with unaffected pregnancies.
Results
No significant differences in maternal ferritin or hemoglobin concentrations were observed between NTD affected and non-affected pregnancies (case median ferritin 16.8μg/L and hemoglobin 12.4g/dL versus 15.4μg/L and 12.3g/dL in controls). As reported previously, red cell folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were significantly lower in cases. Furthermore, there was no significant association of iron status with type of NTD lesion (anencephaly or spina bifida)
Conclusions
We conclude that low maternal iron status during early pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for NTDs. Adding iron to folic acid for periconceptional use may improve iron status but is not likely to prevent NTDs.
doi:10.1002/bdra.23223
PMCID: PMC4018583  PMID: 24535840
ferritin; iron; hemoglobin; neural tube defects
5.  Neural Tube Defects, Folic Acid and Methylation 
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common complex congenital malformations resulting from failure of the neural tube closure during embryogenesis. It is established that folic acid supplementation decreases the prevalence of NTDs, which has led to national public health policies regarding folic acid. To date, animal studies have not provided sufficient information to establish the metabolic and/or genomic mechanism(s) underlying human folic acid responsiveness in NTDs. However, several lines of evidence suggest that not only folates but also choline, B12 and methylation metabolisms are involved in NTDs. Decreased B12 vitamin and increased total choline or homocysteine in maternal blood have been shown to be associated with increased NTDs risk. Several polymorphisms of genes involved in these pathways have also been implicated in risk of development of NTDs. This raises the question whether supplementation with B12 vitamin, betaine or other methylation donors in addition to folic acid periconceptional supplementation will further reduce NTD risk. The objective of this article is to review the role of methylation metabolism in the onset of neural tube defects.
doi:10.3390/ijerph10094352
PMCID: PMC3799525  PMID: 24048206
neural tube defects; folate; methylation; choline; methionine; homocysteine; MTHFR; B12 vitamin
6.  Quantitative assessment of maternal biomarkers related to one-carbon metabolism and neural tube defects 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8510.
Periconceptional supplementation with folic acid reduces the occurrence of neural tube defects (NTDs). The association between maternal abnormalities in homocysteine metabolism (e.g., hyperhomocysteinaemia, folate deficiency and low vitamin B12) and the risk of NTDs-affected pregnancies has been widely evaluated in recent years, although the results are conflicting. To investigate this inconsistency, we performed a meta-analysis of 32 studies, involving 1,890 NTD-affected mothers and 3,995 control mothers, to develop an understanding of the relationship between maternal biomarkers related to one-carbon metabolism and NTD. A random-effects model was used to calculate the ratio of means (RoM) between the cases and controls, along with the 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A significant increase in homocysteine levels was observed in NTD-affected mothers compared with controls (RoM: 1.16, 95% CI: 1.09–1.23, P = 1.8 × 10−6). The pooled analysis also revealed that NTD-affected mothers had significantly lower levels of folate (RoM: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.88–0.97, P = 0.002), vitamin B12 (RoM: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.87–0.95, P = 3.6 × 10−5) and red blood cell folate (RoM: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.86–0.98, P = 0.01). Therefore, altered plasma levels of biomarkers related to one-carbon metabolism are associated with NTD-affected pregnancies.
doi:10.1038/srep08510
PMCID: PMC4345334  PMID: 25728980
7.  Preconceptional Folate Supplementation and the Risk of Spontaneous Preterm Birth: A Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(5):e1000061.
In an analysis of a cohort of pregnant women, Radek Bukowski and colleagues describe an association between taking folic acid supplements and a reduction in the risk of preterm birth.
Background
Low plasma folate concentrations in pregnancy are associated with preterm birth. Here we show an association between preconceptional folate supplementation and the risk of spontaneous preterm birth.
Methods and Findings
In a cohort of 34,480 low-risk singleton pregnancies enrolled in a study of aneuploidy risk, preconceptional folate supplementation was prospectively recorded in the first trimester of pregnancy. Duration of pregnancy was estimated based on first trimester ultrasound examination. Natural length of pregnancy was defined as gestational age at delivery in pregnancies with no medical or obstetrical complications that may have constituted an indication for delivery. Spontaneous preterm birth was defined as duration of pregnancy between 20 and 37 wk without those complications. The association between preconceptional folate supplementation and the risk of spontaneous preterm birth was evaluated using survival analysis. Comparing to no supplementation, preconceptional folate supplementation for 1 y or longer was associated with a 70% decrease in the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery between 20 and 28 wk (41 [0.27%] versus 4 [0.04%] spontaneous preterm births, respectively; HR 0.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.08–0.61, p = 0.004) and a 50% decrease in the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery between 28 and 32 wk (58 [0.38%] versus 12 [0.18%] preterm birth, respectively; HR 0.45, 95% CI 0.24–0.83, p = 0.010). Adjustment for maternal characteristics age, race, body mass index, education, marital status, smoking, parity, and history of prior preterm birth did not have a material effect on the association between folate supplementation for 1 y or longer and spontaneous preterm birth between 20 and 28, and 28 to 32 wk (adjusted HR 0.31, 95% CI 0.11–0.90, p = 0.031 and 0.53, 0.28–0.99, p = 0.046, respectively). Preconceptional folate supplementation was not significantly associated with the risk of spontaneous preterm birth beyond 32 wk. The association between shorter duration (<1 y) of preconceptional folate supplementation and the risk of spontaneous preterm birth was not significant after adjustment for maternal characteristics. However, the risk of spontaneous preterm birth decreased with the duration of preconceptional folate supplementation (test for trend of survivor functions, p = 0.01) and was the lowest in women who used folate supplementation for 1 y or longer. There was also no significant association with other complications of pregnancy studied after adjustment for maternal characteristics.
Conclusions
Preconceptional folate supplementation is associated with a 50%–70% reduction in the incidence of early spontaneous preterm birth. The risk of early spontaneous preterm birth is inversely proportional to the duration of preconceptional folate supplementation. Preconceptional folate supplementation was specifically related to early spontaneous preterm birth and not associated with other complications of pregnancy.
Editors' Summary
Background
Most pregnancies last about 40 weeks, but sometimes the new family member arrives early. Every year, half a million babies in the United States (12.5% of all babies) are born prematurely (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy). Sadly, premature babies are more likely to die than full-term babies and many have short- and/or long-term health problems. Premature babies often have breathing problems, they are susceptible to life-threatening infections, and they are more likely to have learning and developmental disabilities than those born on time. The severity of these health problems depends on the degree of prematurity—preterm babies born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy rarely develop severe disabilities, but a quarter of babies born before 28 weeks of pregnancy develop serious lasting disabilities and half have learning and behavioral problems. Although doctors have identified some risk factors for early delivery (for example, smoking), it is impossible to predict who will have an early birth and there is no effective way to prevent preterm births.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some researchers think that folate supplements may prevent preterm births. Folate (folic acid), a vitamin found in leafy green vegetables, fruits, and dried beans, helps to prevent neural tube birth defects. Consequently, women are encouraged to take folic acid supplements throughout (and preferably before) pregnancy and many governments now mandate that bread, pasta, and other grain products be fortified with folic acid to help women get sufficient folate. There is some evidence that women who deliver early have less folate in their blood than women who deliver at term. Furthermore, folate supplementation during pregnancy has increased the length of pregnancy in some but not all clinical trials. A possible explanation for these mixed results is that the duration of pregnancy reflects conditions in the earliest stages of pregnancy or before conception and that folate supplementation needs to start before conception to reduce the risk of preterm birth. In this study, the researchers test this idea by analyzing data collected from nearly 35,000 pregnant women enrolled in a study that was originally designed to investigate screening for Down's syndrome.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
During the first three months of their pregnancy, the women were asked whether they had taken folate supplements before conception. The duration of each pregnancy was estimated from ultrasound measurements taken early in the pregnancy and from the time of delivery. During the study, 1,658 women had spontaneous preterm deliveries before 37 weeks and 160 delivered before 32 weeks. After allowing for other maternal characteristics that might have affected the likelihood of preterm delivery, the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery between 20 and 28 weeks was 70% lower in women who took folate supplements for more than a year before becoming pregnant than in women who didn't take a supplement. Long-term folate supplementation also reduced the risk of preterm delivery between 28 and 32 weeks by 50% but did not affect the risk of preterm birth beyond 32 weeks. Folate supplementation for less than a year before conception did not reduce the risk of preterm birth, and folate supplementation was not associated with any other complications of pregnancy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that folate supplementation for a year or more before conception is associated with a 50%–70% decrease in early (but not late) spontaneous preterm births and that the longer a woman takes folate supplements before becoming pregnant, the lower her risk of a preterm birth. Although the researchers allowed for maternal characteristics that might have affected the duration of pregnancy, it is possible that folate supplementation may not be responsible for the reduction in preterm birth risk seen in this study. For example, taking folate supplements may be a marker of healthy behavior and the women taking the supplements might have been doing something else that was reducing their risk of preterm birth. However, despite this and other limitations of this study, these findings suggest that long-term folate supplementation before conception is worth investigating further as a potential way to prevent preterm births.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000061.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Nicholas Fisk
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia contains a page on premature babies (in English and Spanish); MedlinePlus provides links to other information on premature babies (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provides information on preterm labor and birth
The March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, provides information on preterm birth and on folic acid (in English and Spanish)
The Nemours Foundation, another nonprofit organization for child health, also provides information on premature babies (in English and Spanish)
The US Office of Dietary Supplements has a fact sheet on folate
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000061
PMCID: PMC2671168  PMID: 19434228
8.  Preventive health care, 2000 update: screening and management of hyperhomocysteinemia for the prevention of coronary artery disease events 
OBJECTIVE: To establish guidelines for the screening and treatment of hyperhomocysteinemia in the investigation and management of coronary artery disease (CAD). OPTIONS: Measurement of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) levels in the fasting state or 4-6 hours after oral methionine load; vitamin supplementation with folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12; adherence to the recommended daily allowance of dietary sources of folate and vitamins B6 and B12. OUTCOMES: This article reviews the available evidence on the association between plasma tHcy levels and CAD and the effect of lowering tHcy levels through vitamin supplementation or dietary intake. EVIDENCE: MEDLINE was searched for relevant English-language articles published from January 1966 to June 1999; also reviewed were additional articles identified from the bibliographies. BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Canada. Homocysteine, generated in the metabolism of methionine, may have a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia in the general population is between 5% and 10% and may be as high as 30%-40% in the elderly population. If population-based studies are correct, tHcy may be responsible for up to 10% of CAD events and thus may represent an important and potentially modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Laboratory testing for tHcy is currently restricted to research centres, and costs range from $30 to $50 per person. Newer, less costly techniques have been developed and should become readily available with time. VALUES: The strength of evidence was evaluated using the methods of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. RECOMMENDATIONS: Although there is insufficient evidence to recommend the screening or management of hyperhomocysteinemia at present (grade C recommendation), adherence to recommended daily allowance of dietary sources of folate and vitamins B12 and B6 should be encouraged. If elevated tHcy levels are discovered, vitamin deficiency should be ruled out to allow specific treatment and prevention of complications, such as neurological sequelae due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Experts in the field advocate treatment of elevated tHcy levels in high-risk people, such as those with a personal or family history of premature atherosclerosis or a predisposition to develop hyperhomocysteinemia. Definitive guidelines for the management of hyperhomocysteinemia await the completion of randomized trials to establish the effect of vitamin supplementation on CAD events. VALIDATION: The findings of this analysis were reviewed through an iterative process by the members of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. SPONSORS: The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care is funded through a partnership between the Provincial and Territorial Ministries of Health and Health Canada.
PMCID: PMC1232546  PMID: 10920726
9.  Effects of differences in serum total homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B12 on cognitive impairment in stroke patients 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:217.
Background
Vascular cognitive impairment-no dementia (VCIND) refers to the early or mild cognitive impairment induced by cerebral vascular injury. Research shows that serum total homocysteine (tHcy) level is an independent risk factor for cerebral vascular disease and may be closely related to cognitive function.Current studies on the tHcy level in VCIND patients are limited, and the relationship of tHcy with cognitive function remains unclear. This study aims to investigate the tHcy levels in patients with VCIND and to determine their correlation with cognitive function, as well as to provide useful clues for preventing and treating VCIND.
Methods
The tHcy, folate, and vitamin B12 levels in 82 patients with VCIND were reviewed retrospectively and compared with those of 80 stroke patients without cognitive impairment and 69 healthy controls by using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scale and the event-related potential P300 to evaluate cognitive function.
Results
The tHcy levels in the VCIND group were higher than those in the other two groups, whereas the folate and Vitamin B12 levels in the VCIND group were lower than those of the other two groups. The tHcy levels in the stroke group were higher than those in the control group, and the folate and vitamin B12 levels in the stroke group were lower than those in the control group. The patients in the VCIND group with high tHcy exhibited lower MoCA scores and prolonged P300 latency than those in with normal tHcy. Correlation analysis showed that tHcy level is positively correlated with P300 latency period and negatively correlated with MoCA score.
Conclusion
The tHcy levels were significantly higher and the vitamin B12 and folate levels were significantly lower in the patients with VCIND than those in the other groups. The high tHcy levels in the VCIND patients may be correlated with impaired cognitive function.
doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0217-9
PMCID: PMC4333896  PMID: 25433800
Cognitive impairment; Cerebrovascular disorder; Neuropsychology; Event related potentials P300; Homocysteine
10.  Neural Tube Defects and Maternal Intake of Micronutrients Related to One-Carbon Metabolism or Antioxidant Activity 
Background
Maternal nutritional status has been evaluated to clarify its role in development of neural tube defects (NTDs). Maternal folate intake during pregnancy has been closely evaluated for its association with NTDs.
Objective
The study objective was to examine associations between NTDs and other dietary periconceptional micronutrient intake, particularly nutrients involved in one-carbon metabolism or antioxidant activity.
Design
Using data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997–2005, logistic regression models were used to estimate the relative risk of NTDs based on maternal micronutrient intake.
Results
Results were stratified according to folic acid supplement use, race/ethnicity, and maternal body mass index. Analyses included 954 cases (300 with anencephaly, 654 with spina bifida) and 6268 controls. Higher intakes of folate, thiamin, betaine, iron, and vitamin A were associated with decreased risk of anencephaly among some ethnic and clinical groups. In some groups, higher intakes of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, and retinol were associated with decreased risk of spina bifida.
Conclusion
In addition to folic acid, other micronutrients, including thiamin, betaine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, iron, retinol, and vitamin A, may decrease the risk of NTD occurrence.
doi:10.1002/bdra.23068
PMCID: PMC3518275  PMID: 22933447
Dietary periconceptional micronutrients; maternal nutrition; National Birth Defects Prevention Study; neural tube defects; one-carbon metabolism
11.  Novel Mechanism for Valproate-Induced Teratogenicity 
Background
Valproic acid (VPA) is a commonly prescribed drug for those affected by epilepsy and bipolar disorders. VPA has a well known teratogenic potential, causing a variety of birth defects including neural tube defects (NTDs) and other congenital malformations, when women are treated with this medication during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the mechanism by which VPA is teratogenic remains unknown, although a range of potential mechanisms including histone deacetylase inhibition and folate antagonism have been proposed. The latter is of considerable importance, as clinicians need to know if additional folate supplements can prevent VPA-induced defects.
Methods
We herein approach this question experimentally, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay assays and cell culture modeling, to demonstrate that VPA serves as a noncompetitive inhibitor of the high affinity folate receptors.
Results
Binding affinities experimentally determined through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay assays indicate that VPA serves as a noncompetitive substrate that can lessen the ability of the three primary folate forms to bind to the high affinity folate receptors. Tests in HEK293T cells indicate that the membrane-bound folate receptors of VPA treated cells bind significantly lower amounts of folic acid than do untreated cells.
Conclusion
If these data translate to the overall transport and subsequent bioavailability of folates, noncompetitive inhibition of the folate receptors by VPA may serve to lower the bioavailable folates in VPA treated mothers. This represents a novel mechanism by which in utero VPA exposure could be disrupting developmental processes by noncompetitively binding to the folate receptors during embryogenesis, thus inducing the wide range of defects seen in babies born to VPA treated mothers.
doi:10.1002/bdra.23277
PMCID: PMC4396868  PMID: 25066307
valproic acid; folate; vitamin transport; birth defects; teratogens
12.  Folate during reproduction: the Canadian experience with folic acid fortification 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2007;1(3):163-174.
Folate has received international attention regarding its role in the risk-reduction of birth defects, specifically neural tube defects (NTDs). In 1998, health officials in Canada, like the United States, mandated the addition of folic acid to white flour and select grain products to increase the folate intake of reproductive-aged women. Subsequent to this initiative there has been an increase in blood folate concentrations in Canada and a 50% reduction in NTDs. Many countries, including Korea, have not mandated folic acid fortification of their food supply. Reasons vary but often include concern over the masking of vitamin B12 deficiency, a belief that folate intakes among womenare adequate, low priority relative to other domestic issues, and the philosophy that individuals have the right not to consume supplemental folic acid if they so choose. Prior to folic acid fortification of the food supply in Canada, the folate intakes of women were low, and their blood folate concentrations while not sufficiently low to produce overt signs of folate deficiency (eg. anemia) were inconsistent with a level known to reduce the risk of an NTD-affected pregnancy. The purpose of this article is to describe the role of folate during the periconceptional period, pregnancy, and during lactation. The rationale for, and history of recommending folic acid-containing supplements during the periconceptional period and pregnancy is described as is folic acid fortification of the food supply. The impact of folic acid fortification in Canada is discussed, and unresolved issues associated with this policy described. While the incidence of NTDs in Canada pre-folic acid fortification were seemingly higherthan that of Korea today, blood folate levels of Korean women are strikingly similar. We will briefly explore these parallels in an attempt to understand whether folic acid fortification of the food supply in Korea might be worth consideration
doi:10.4162/nrp.2007.1.3.163
PMCID: PMC2849017  PMID: 20368933
Folic acid; fortification; periconceptional period; pregnancy; lactation
13.  Neural tube defects – disorders of neurulation and related embryonic processes 
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are severe congenital malformations affecting 1 in every 1000 pregnancies. ‘Open’ NTDs result from failure of primary neurulation as seen in anencephaly, myelomeningocele (open spina bifida) and craniorachischisis. Degeneration of the persistently open neural tube in utero leads to loss of neurological function below the lesion level. ‘Closed’ NTDs are skin-covered disorders of spinal cord structure, ranging from asymptomatic spina bifida occulta to severe spinal cord tethering, and usually traceable to disruption of secondary neurulation. ‘Herniation’ NTDs are those in which meninges, with or without brain or spinal cord tissue, become exteriorised through a pathological opening in the skull or vertebral column (e.g. encephalocele and meningocele). NTDs have multifactorial etiology, with genes and environmental factors interacting to determine individual risk of malformation. While over 200 mutant genes cause open NTDs in mice, much less is known about the genetic causation of human NTDs. Recent evidence has implicated genes of the planar cell polarity signalling pathway in a proportion of cases. The embryonic development of NTDs is complex, with diverse cellular and molecular mechanisms operating at different levels of the body axis. Molecular regulatory events include the BMP and Sonic hedgehog pathways which have been implicated in control of neural plate bending. Primary prevention of NTDs has been implemented clinically following the demonstration that folic acid, when taken as a peri-conceptional supplement, can prevent many cases. Not all NTDs respond to folic acid, however, and adjunct therapies are required for prevention of this folic acid-resistant category.
doi:10.1002/wdev.71
PMCID: PMC4023228  PMID: 24009034
14.  Clinical spectrum of neural tube defects with special reference to karyotyping study 
Background:
Neural tube defects are common congenital malformations of the central nervous system. Despite years of intensive epidemiological, clinical, and experimental research, the exact etiology of NTD remains rather complex and poorly understood. The present study attempted to look into the association of occurrence of NTD with reference to folic acid levels, along with karyotyping status.
Materials and Methods:
Detailed history was taken with emphasis on age of the baby and mother, parity, antenatal folic acid intake. Five milliliters of blood was drawn from all the babies and their mothers and divided equally in preheparinized vials (for karyotyping) and plain vials (for folic acid estimation). The total duration was 2 years.
Results:
The total number (n) in the study group was 75. The folic acid level was less in affected babies and their mother when compared to matched controls. Chromosomal defect was observed in nine of the 75 patients. Karyotyping defects were higher in children born to mothers of the age group 31-40 years and when their birth order was second.
Conclusion:
Folic acid supplementation needs to be continued to prevent the occurrence of NTD, and the perinatal identification of NTD should alert one to the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities and prompt a thorough cytogenetic investigation and genetic counseling.
doi:10.4103/1817-1745.102560
PMCID: PMC3519089  PMID: 23248680
Chromosomal defect; folic acid; neural tube defects; karyotyping
15.  Vitamin B12 and folate concentrations during pregnancy and insulin resistance in the offspring: the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study 
Diabetologia  2007;51(1):29-38.
Aims/hypothesis
Raised maternal plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations predict small size at birth, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus. We studied the association between maternal vitamin B12, folate and tHcy status during pregnancy, and offspring adiposity and insulin resistance at 6 years.
Methods
In the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study we studied 700 consecutive eligible pregnant women in six villages. We measured maternal nutritional intake and circulating concentrations of folate, vitamin B12, tHcy and methylmalonic acid (MMA) at 18 and 28 weeks of gestation. These were correlated with offspring anthropometry, body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan) and insulin resistance (homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-R]) at 6 years.
Results
Two-thirds of mothers had low vitamin B12 (<150 pmol/l), 90% had high MMA (>0.26 μmol/l) and 30% had raised tHcy concentrations (>10 μmol/l); only one had a low erythrocyte folate concentration. Although short and thin (BMI), the 6-year-old children were relatively adipose compared with the UK standards (skinfold thicknesses). Higher maternal erythrocyte folate concentrations at 28 weeks predicted higher offspring adiposity and higher HOMA-R (both p < 0.01). Low maternal vitamin B12 (18 weeks; p = 0.03) predicted higher HOMA-R in the children. The offspring of mothers with a combination of high folate and low vitamin B12 concentrations were the most insulin resistant.
Conclusions/interpretation
Low maternal vitamin B12 and high folate status may contribute to the epidemic of adiposity and type 2 diabetes in India.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-007-0793-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
doi:10.1007/s00125-007-0793-y
PMCID: PMC2100429  PMID: 17851649
Adiposity; Folate; Insulin resistance; Maternal nutrition; Offspring; Pregnancy; Vitamin B12
16.  Association between inhibited binding of folic acid to folate receptor α in maternal serum and folate-related birth defects in Norway 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2011;26(8):2232-2238.
BACKGROUND
Folic acid intake during pregnancy can reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) and perhaps also oral facial clefts. Maternal autoantibodies to folate receptors can impair folic acid binding. We explored the relationship of these birth defects to inhibition of folic acid binding to folate receptor α (FRα), as well as possible effects of parental demographics or prenatal exposures.
METHODS
We conducted a nested case–control study within the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. The study included mothers of children with an NTD (n= 11), cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL/P, n= 72), or cleft palate only (CPO, n= 27), and randomly selected mothers of controls (n= 221). The inhibition of folic acid binding to FRα was measured in maternal plasma collected around 17 weeks of gestation. On the basis of prior literature, the maternal age, gravidity, education, smoking, periconception folic acid supplement use and milk consumption were considered as potential confounding factors.
RESULTS
There was an increased risk of NTDs with increased binding inhibition [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0–1.8]. There was no increased risk of oral facial clefts from inhibited folic acid binding to FRα (CL/P aOR = 0.7, 95% CI 0.6–1.0; CPO aOR = 1.1, 95% CI 0.8–1.4). No association was seen between smoking, folate supplementation or other cofactors and inhibition of folic acid binding to FRα.
CONCLUSIONS
Inhibition of folic acid binding to FRα in maternal plasma collected during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of NTDs but not oral facial clefts.
doi:10.1093/humrep/der144
PMCID: PMC3137385  PMID: 21576080
neural tube defects; oral facial clefts; folic acid; folate receptor; maternal autoantibodies
17.  Evaluation of common genetic variants in 82 candidate genes as risk factors for neural tube defects 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:62.
Background
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common birth defects (~1 in 1000 pregnancies in the US and Europe) that have complex origins, including environmental and genetic factors. A low level of maternal folate is one well-established risk factor, with maternal periconceptional folic acid supplementation reducing the occurrence of NTD pregnancies by 50-70%. Gene variants in the folate metabolic pathway (e.g., MTHFR rs1801133 (677 C > T) and MTHFD1 rs2236225 (R653Q)) have been found to increase NTD risk. We hypothesized that variants in additional folate/B12 pathway genes contribute to NTD risk.
Methods
A tagSNP approach was used to screen common variation in 82 candidate genes selected from the folate/B12 pathway and NTD mouse models. We initially genotyped polymorphisms in 320 Irish triads (NTD cases and their parents), including 301 cases and 341 Irish controls to perform case–control and family based association tests. Significantly associated polymorphisms were genotyped in a secondary set of 250 families that included 229 cases and 658 controls. The combined results for 1441 SNPs were used in a joint analysis to test for case and maternal effects.
Results
Nearly 70 SNPs in 30 genes were found to be associated with NTDs at the p < 0.01 level. The ten strongest association signals (p-value range: 0.0003–0.0023) were found in nine genes (MFTC, CDKN2A, ADA, PEMT, CUBN, GART, DNMT3A, MTHFD1 and T (Brachyury)) and included the known NTD risk factor MTHFD1 R653Q (rs2236225). The single strongest signal was observed in a new candidate, MFTC rs17803441 (OR = 1.61 [1.23-2.08], p = 0.0003 for the minor allele). Though nominally significant, these associations did not remain significant after correction for multiple hypothesis testing.
Conclusions
To our knowledge, with respect to sample size and scope of evaluation of candidate polymorphisms, this is the largest NTD genetic association study reported to date. The scale of the study and the stringency of correction are likely to have contributed to real associations failing to survive correction. We have produced a ranked list of variants with the strongest association signals. Variants in the highest rank of associations are likely to include true associations and should be high priority candidates for further study of NTD risk.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-62
PMCID: PMC3458983  PMID: 22856873
Neural tube defects; Spina bifida; Folic acid; One-carbon metabolism; Candidate gene
18.  CHKA and PCYT1A gene polymorphisms, choline intake and spina bifida risk in a California population 
BMC Medicine  2006;4:36.
Background
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are among the most common of all human congenital defects. Over the last two decades, accumulating evidence has made it clear that periconceptional intake of folic acid can significantly reduce the risk of NTD affected pregnancies. This beneficial effect may be related to the ability of folates to donate methyl groups for critical physiological reactions. Choline is an essential nutrient and it is also a methyl donor critical for the maintenance of cell membrane integrity and methyl metabolism. Perturbations in choline metabolism in vitro have been shown to induce NTDs in mouse embryos.
Methods
This study investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in human choline kinase A (CHKA) gene and CTP:phosphocholine cytidylytransferase (PCYT1A) gene were risk factors for spina bifida. Fluorescence-based allelic discrimination analysis was performed for the two CHKA intronic SNPs hCV1562388 (rs7928739) and hCV1562393, and PCYT1A SNP rs939883 and rs3772109. The study population consisted of 103 infants with spina bifida and 338 non-malformed control infants who were born in selected California counties in the period 1989–1991.
Results
The CHKA SNP hCV1562388 genotypes with at least one C allele were associated with a reduced risk of spina bifida (odds ratio = 0.60, 95%CI = 0.38–0.94). The PCYT1A SNP rs939883 genotype AA was associated with a twofold increased risk of spina bifida (odds ratio = 1.89, 95% CI = 0.97–3.67). These gene-only effects were not substantially modified by analytic consideration to maternal periconceptional choline intake.
Conclusion
Our analyses showed genotype effects of CHKA and PCYT1A genes on spina bifida risk, but did not show evidence of gene-nutrient interactions. The underlying mechanisms are yet to be resolved.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-4-36
PMCID: PMC1770928  PMID: 17184542
19.  Periconceptional nutrient intakes and risks of neural tube defects in California 1,2 
Background
This study investigated the association of neural tube defects (NTDs) with maternal periconceptional intake of folic acid-containing supplements and dietary nutrients, including folate, among deliveries that occurred after folic acid fortification in selected California counties.
Methods
The population-based case-control study included fetuses and live born infants with spina bifida (189) or anencephaly (141) and 625 nonmalformed, live born controls delivered from 1999–2003. Mothers reported supplement use during telephone interviews, which included a 107-item food frequency questionnaire. For dietary nutrients, intakes <25th, 25th–<75th (reference), and ≥75th percentile were compared, based on control distributions.
Results
After adjustment for potential confounders, any versus no supplement intake resulted in ORs of 0.8 (95% CI 0.5, 1.3) for anencephaly and 0.8 (95% CI 0.6, 1.2) for spina bifida. After stratification by maternal intake of vitamin supplements, most factors in the glycemic pathway were not associated with either NTD, with the exception of low levels of fructose and glucose that were significantly associated with anencephaly. Some nutrients that contribute to one-carbon metabolism showed lowered risks (folate, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12); others did not (choline, methionine, zinc). Anti-oxidant nutrients tended to be associated with lowered risks (vitamins C, E, A, β-carotene, lutein).
Conclusions
Mother’s intake of vitamin supplements was modestly if at all associated with a lowered risk of NTDs. Dietary intake of several nutrients contributing to one-carbon metabolism and oxidative stress were associated with reduced NTD risk.
doi:10.1002/bdra.20675
PMCID: PMC2929981  PMID: 20740594
20.  Folic acid to reduce neonatal mortality from neural tube disorders 
International Journal of Epidemiology  2010;39(Suppl 1):i110-i121.
Background Neural tube defects (NTDs) remain an important, preventable cause of mortality and morbidity. High-income countries have reported large reductions in NTDs associated with folic acid supplementation or fortification. The burden of NTDs in low-income countries and the effectiveness of folic acid fortification/supplementation are unclear.
Objective To review the evidence for, and estimate the effect of, folic acid fortification/supplementation on neonatal mortality due to NTDs, especially in low-income countries.
Methods We conducted systematic reviews, abstracted data meeting inclusion criteria and evaluated evidence quality using adapted Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology. Where appropriate, meta-analyses were performed.
Results Meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of folic acid supplementation for women with a previous pregnancy with NTD indicates a 70% [95% confidence interval (CI): 35–86] reduction in recurrence (secondary prevention). For NTD primary prevention through folic acid supplementation, combining one RCT with three cohort studies which adjusted for confounding, suggested a reduction of 62% (95% CI: 49–71). A meta-analysis of eight population-based observational studies examining folic acid food fortification gave an estimated reduction in NTD incidence of 46% (95% CI: 37–54). In low-income countries an estimated 29% of neonatal deaths related to visible congenital abnormalities are attributed to NTD. Assuming that fortification reduces the incidence of NTDs, but does not alter severity or case-fatality rates, we estimate that folic acid fortification could prevent 13% of neonatal deaths currently attributed to congenital abnormalities in low-income countries.
Discussion Scale-up of periconceptional supplementation programmes is challenging. Our final effect estimate was therefore based on folic acid fortification data. If folic acid food fortification achieved 100% population coverage the number of NTDs in low-income countries could be approximately halved.
Conclusion The evidence supports both folic acid supplementation and fortification as effective in reducing neonatal mortality from NTDs.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyq028
PMCID: PMC2845867  PMID: 20348114
Neonatal mortality; folic acid; neural tube defects; pregnancy; infant; newborn; Neural Tube Defects/mortality/prevention & control; dietary supplements
21.  Potential Prevention of Neural Tube Defects by Assessment of Women of Childbearing Age Through Monitoring of Folate 
Therapeutic drug monitoring  2002;24(5):628-630.
Summary
Background
Three quarters of neural tube defects (NTD) can be prevented by sufficient dietary folate supplementation. Despite this knowledge, most women do not supplement their diet effectively. Red cell folate concentrations correlate with the risk of NTD, and levels of less than 900 nM are associated with an increased risk of these serious congenital anomalies.
Objective
Laboratory tests to assess anemia include testing for folate. This study was conducted to estimate the potential benefits of informing women of reproductive age who are unaware of their low folate levels, uncovered in their anemia tests.
Methods
The number of Ontario women of reproductive age who undergo folate tests and are at an increased risk of NTD was calculated. In addition, the authors calculated the number of NTD cases that could have been prevented if these women were informed of the possible consequences of their low folate levels should they become pregnant.
Results
In 1998, red cell folate concentrations were measured in 23,109 women of childbearing age (15–45 y). Approximately half of the women [n = 11,392 (49.3%)] had folate levels below 900 nM and thus were at an increased risk of giving birth to a child with NTD should they have become pregnant. Their overall mean relative risk (RR) of NTD was 1.95, or 1:512 births. If they would have been informed of this risk and subsequently increased their consumption of folate before becoming pregnant, 22.3 cases of NTD per year could have possibly been prevented at no extra cost, since the folic acid results were a part of investigational blood tests performed for another reason (anemia).
Conclusions
Women of reproductive age who are being evaluated for the cause of anemia and have low red cell folate results constitute a high-risk group for NTD in their children. These women should be informed of the increased risk and of methods of dietary folate supplementation.
PMCID: PMC3635838  PMID: 12352934
Folic acid; Pregnancy; Pregnancy outcome; Dietary supplements; Neural tube defects; Preventative health services; Primary prevention
22.  Red blood cell folate levels in pregnant women with a history of mood disorders: a case series 
Objective
Maternal folate supplementation reduces offspring risk for neural tube defects (NTDs) and other congenital abnormalities. Maternal red blood cell (RBC) folate concentrations of >906nmol/L have been associated with the lowest risk of having an NTD affected pregnancy. Mood disorders (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder) are common among women and can be associated with folate deficiency. Thus, pregnant women with histories of mood disorders may be prone to RBC folate levels insufficient to provide optimal protection against NTDs. While previous studies have assessed RBC folate concentrations in pregnant women from the general population, none have looked specifically at a group of pregnant women who have a history of a mood disorder.
Methods
We collected data about RBC folate concentrations and folic acid supplement intake during early pregnancy (<161days gestation) from n=24 women with histories of mood disorders. We also collected information about offspring congenital abnormalities and birthweight.
Results
Among women with histories of mood disorders, the mean RBC folate concentration was 674 nmol/L (range: 362 –1105nmol/L). Only 12.5% (n=3) of the women had an RBC folate concentrations >906nmol/L, despite all participants reporting current daily use of folic acid supplements. Data regarding offspring were available for 22 women: birthweights ranged from 2296g to 4819g, and congenital abnormalities were identified in two (hypoplastic left heart, annular pancreas).
Conclusion
Data from this exploratory case series suggest a need for future larger scale controlled studies investigating RBC folate concentrations in early pregnancy and offspring outcomes among women with and without histories of mood disorders.
doi:10.1002/bdra.23144
PMCID: PMC3951991  PMID: 23760977 CAMSID: cams3096
folic acid; folate; pregnancy; mood disorders; depression; birth defects; congenital abnormalities
23.  Homocysteine concentration, related B vitamins, and betaine in pregnant women recruited to the Seychelles Child Development Study123 
Background
Both folate and betaine are important predictors of total homocysteine (tHcy) during pregnancy. However, studies to date have only been undertaken in populations with Western dietary patterns.
Objective
We investigated the predictors of tHcy in pregnant women recruited in the Seychelles, a population where access to fortified foods is limited and where women habitually consume diets rich in fish, eggs, rice, and fruit.
Design
Pregnant women (n = 226) provided blood samples at enrollment, at week 28 of gestation, and at delivery. Cord blood was obtained from a subset of participants (n = 135).
Results
As in other studies, maternal tHcy was lower during pregnancy than at delivery, whereas folate and vitamin B-12 status declined significantly to delivery. Despite low maternal folate status at delivery (median: 9.0 nmol/L), with 35% of women in the deficient range (serum folate: <6.8 nmol/L), cord blood folate status (median: 40.2 nmol/L) was similar to concentrations reported in Western populations. Folate was a significant predictor of tHcy at all time points (P < 0.001). In contrast with previous studies, betaine was only a significant predictor of maternal tHcy (P < 0.001) when the essential amino acid methionine was low.
Conclusions
The current study reports 2 important findings. First, fetal requirements for folate are paramount, such that cord blood folate status is maintained, even when maternal status is low. Second, betaine is a significant predictor of tHcy in pregnant women with low serum folate and low serum methionine concentrations.
PMCID: PMC2258320  PMID: 18258630
Homocysteine; folate; betaine; vitamin B-12; pregnancy; maternal status
24.  Folate-related gene variants in Irish families affected by neural tube defects 
Frontiers in Genetics  2013;4:223.
Periconceptional folic acid use can often prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). Variants of genes involved in folate metabolism in mothers and children have been associated with occurrence of NTDs. We identified Irish families with individuals affected by neural tube defects. In these families, we observed that neural tube defects and birth defects overall occurred at a higher rate in the maternal lineage compared with the paternal lineage. The goal of this study was to look for evidence for genetic effects that could explain the discrepancy in the occurrence of these birth defects in the maternal vs. paternal lineage. We genotyped blood samples from 322 individuals from NTD-affected Irish families, identified through their membership in spina bifida associations. We looked for differences in distribution in maternal vs. paternal lineages of five genetic polymorphisms: the DHFR 19 bp deletion, MTHFD1 1958G>A, MTHFR 1298A>C, MTHFR 677C>T, and SLC19A1 80A>G. In addition to looking at genotypes individually, we determined the number of genotypes associated with decreased folate metabolism in each relative (“risk genotypes”) and compared the distribution of these genotypes in maternal vs. paternal relatives. Overall, maternal relatives had a higher number of genotypes associated with lower folate metabolism than paternal relatives (p = 0.017). We expected that relatives would share the same risk genotype as the individuals with NTDs and/or their mothers. However, we observed that maternal relatives had an over-abundance of any risk genotype, rather than one specific genotype. The observed genetic effects suggest an epigenetic mechanism in which decreased folate metabolism results in epigenetic alterations related to the increased rate of NTDs and other birth defects seen in the maternal lineage. Future studies on the etiology of NTDs and other birth defects could benefit from including multigenerational extended families, in order to explore potential epigenetic mechanisms.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2013.00223
PMCID: PMC3818582  PMID: 24223580
neural tube defects; folate metabolism; DHFR 19bp deletion; MTHFD1 1958G>A; MTHFR 1298A>C; MTHFR 677C>T; SLC19A1 80A>G; maternal inheritance
25.  Time trends in neural tube defects prevalence in relation to preventive strategies: an international study 
OBJECTIVE: To examine time trends in neural tube defects (NTD) prevalence from 1987 to 1996 in relation to the primary prevention policies for folic acid supplementation strategies in different countries. DESIGN: Retrospective time trends analysis of NTD prevalence. SETTING: 11 birth defect registries of congenital malformations participating in the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Monitoring System, in the period from 1 July 1987 to 30 June 1996. SUBJECTS: 8207 live births, stillbirths and terminated pregnancies affected by anencephaly or spina bifida registered by the 11 participating centres 1987-1996. OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence rate ratios based on the annual rates, using the Poisson regression model. RESULTS: During the study period a significant fall in prevalence rates for all NTD is present in Atlanta (USA), England and Wales, Hungary and Japan, and a significant rise in Norway and South America. After adjusting for the secular trends observed in the earlier years of the study, no significant trend can be attributed to preventive strategies. Data on NTD prevalence are supplemented with information on folate awareness among some of the populations studied. CONCLUSION: There is no evidence that, up to the middle of 1996, any change in time trend was attributable to the introduction of national folate supplementation policies. The possible effectiveness of folate supplementation policies for the reduction of NTD clearly needs to be tried and studied for several more years. Considering that in the Western world about 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, a policy that rests on action taken before conception can only have limited success. Strategies based on food enrichment, such as was introduced in the USA from the beginning of 1998, may prove to be more successful.
 
PMCID: PMC1756782  PMID: 10616675

Results 1-25 (650182)